Bodybuilding is a unique sport. While athletes compete against one another, they only have control over what they bring to the stage: their own physiques.
It takes enormous self discipline, perseverance and calculated precision to become a bodybuilder… And there’s no one more exciting to watch than Canada’s very own Chris Bumstead, or CBUM.
Bumstead first started competing in 2014 when he was only 19, and at 21, he earned his Pro Card after winning the 2016 IFBB North American Bodybuilding Championship.
After placing 2nd in 2017 and 2018, Bumstead became the 2019 Classic Physique Olympia Champion at age 24. He continues to defend his coveted 1st place title with more wins in 2020 and 2021.
CBUM is 8 weeks out from competing once more at the 2022 Mr. Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend - December 16th to 18th in Las Vegas… and thankfully, us strength training and bodybuilding enthusiasts can learn a lot from his prep, thanks to his active online presence.
In this Superhero Spotlight, we go over a few things we learn from Chris Bumstead, including:
- CBUM’s Champion Mentality
- Insight on ‘Supplement’ Use
- Peek Into Chris Bumstead’s Olympia Training
Photo by: LT Visual Media
Chris Bumstead’s Champion Mentality
“You are your own worst enemy all the time. You are literally competing against yourself all the time. Champion Mentality isn’t about being a champion and winning trophies… it’s about having no quit to become the best version of yourself.” Chris Bumstead
The phrase ‘Champion Mentality’ is Chris Bumstead’s rallying cry for amateur athletes who look up to his accomplishments. It marks the merchandise he offers to his 10 million + fans, and there’s no phrase better for a 3 time Mr Olympia champion.
Through this message, Bumstead encourages his audience to behave like a champion - even when there isn’t a trophy or a medal on the line. By showing up each day taking action to become a better version of yourself, you embody CBUM’s Champion Mentality.
From CBUM, we learn that even without public accolades - we can feel like a champion when we persevere through the difficult things to evolve into our best selves.
CBUM’s Insight on ‘Supplement Use’ in Bodybuilding
“I just want to really stress to anyone getting into bodybuilding to focus on the basics, and the consistency of food and training before absolutely anything. (...) Bodybuilding is a potentially very dangerous sport and I think people should be doing it as safely and as effectively as possible. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” Chris Bumstead
If your goal is to pursue the sport for yourself, with no intentions of competing or using performance enhancing ‘supplements,’ bodybuilding is perfectly safe.
However, if you wish to step on the stage, compete against the best bodybuilders in the world and use ‘supplements’ to help you with your goals, it can become dangerous very quickly.
Photo by Calvin Youtittham
“If you want to use ‘supplements’, wait until the last possible minute if you even want to do it because it can have life-lasting negative effects to your fertility, to your sex, your libido, to your hormones, skin, acne, everything. What are you doing it for? You’re going to win the Olympia? Probably not. Sorry. Only very few people, one a year, so you’re probably not going to. Just don’t fu*k your shit up. Don’t be an idiot. If you love training, then go after the other things like natural supplements.” Chris Bumstead added.
CBUM is very aware of the dangers that come with competing at bodybuilding’s most elite level and puts extra attention on his physical health. That means doing regular health checks, blood work and doctors’ visits - using the data learned to make calculated decisions.
When asked by a young lifter whether or not they should start taking steroids, Bumstead responded, “That decision has to be your own, and it has to be a well educated decision, because people like bodybuilding for a few years, and they take steroids and they’ll be like ‘I don’t actually like bodybuilding.’ Then they’ll quit bodybuilding, and their body is still f—ked up from the juice or whatever they took in the meantime. “So that decision, you shouldn’t ask anybody that. You should just know, and you should be f—king dedicated to wanting to do it. So no, you shouldn’t if you’re asking me that.”
Earlier this year, CBUM shared that he has transitioned to much lower doses to positive results. “When I was young, I used to run a typical cycle that most bodybuilders would. Still very low amounts but a typical amount of compounds, four or five compounds throughout a prep. And now I’m down to one or two. I’ve decreased everything and look much better because I’ve been more efficient. Older now, more muscle maturity but I’ve also focused on all-year being on my diet, on my training, on my health, everything perfectly,” said Bumstead.
Chris Bumstead’s conservative philosophy on ‘supplement’ use can also be linked to his decision to perform in the Classic Physique Division over Open. As CBUM’s profile grew in the last few years, becoming one of the most popular bodybuilders in the world, so too did the interest of bodybuilding fans toward the Classic Physique.
Compared to Open, the Classic Physique is also much more attainable - perhaps another reason more and more prefer to watch leaner muscular competitors. On this topic, CBUM said, “I think the reason they are switching down is because they have the chance to look like their childhood heroes rather than the new people on top now. Which are just absolute mass monster which doesn’t appeal to such a large crowd.”
Note: The Classic Physique division is fairly new to the Olympia, introduced only in 2016. Classic is targeted toward athletes who want to build their size above normal physique limits but not to the extent of the Open Division, prioritizing an aesthetic appearance over extreme muscular development. The Open Division features athletes with weights starting from 300lbs.
How CBUM Trains for Mr Olympia
You can find peeks into Chris Bumstead’s training routine on his YouTube channel.
Here are a few workouts we found through his videos:
- Leg Extensions
- Hip Press
- Linear Hack Squats
- Leg Press
- Seated Calf Raises
- Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Machine Overhead Press
- Machine Lateral Raises
- Machine Preacher Curl
- One-Arm Machine Dumbbell High Curl
- Triceps Pushdown
- One-Arm Overhead Cable Triceps Extension
- Superset: Crossover Cable Triceps Extension and Seated Dumbbell Curl
- Lat pull-down (warmup)
- Dead hang (warmup/stretch)
- Bent-over barbell row: 2 x 10-12
- Incline bench dumbbell row: 2 x 8-10
- Machine Prime row: 3 x 6-10
- Single-arm cable row
- EZ-bar cable curl
- Arnold concentration curl
Photo by Calvin Youtittham
Become a Champion like CBUM
We're rooting for Chris Bumstead's 4th winning title as Mr Olympia this December.
While not many of us can seriously entertain ambitions of competing on the Mr Olympia stage, we can certainly experience greater life fulfillment by striving to be our best selves everyday.
This means lowering the volume of external distractions and turning up the focus on our own personal development.
To embody CBUM’s Champion Mentality is to compete with ourselves everyday to see just how strong we truly are.
A champion can be made more effective with the right gear. Better Body’s home fitness equipment helps you get more consistent in your strength training.
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